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Posts Tagged ‘skiing’

 

 

 

Dave drips the hot blue wax onto the ski

and tells me how it will help the ski meet the snow.

“The cold snow is sharp,” he says, “and aggressive.”

Today’s wax will harden the base of the ski.

 

I think of the world and all its sharpnesses,

all its aggressions. We humans

are not so unlike the snow. I’ve been fooled

so often. Perhaps my soul needs blue wax.

 

No, I think, what the soul really needs

is more like the scraper he pulls out,

and the brushes of copper, horsehair, and nylon.

What the soul really needs is a scouring.

 

He explains that the scouring allows

the cuts in the structure to be exposed

so that the skis don’t suction to the snow.

Is that what all these little cuts are for in me?

 

To keep me from getting stuck? Later,

as I skate in the race and feel my ski glide

across what is cold, I think Dave

with my visible breath.

 

There are so many ways to relearn

how it is we meet the world. Today,

the lesson is a ski, a scraper, some wax,

a man with an iron, and acres and acres of snow.

 

 

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By then, the blizzard was strong enough

that we couldn’t see past the chair in front of us—

all was white oblivion. And though I knew

the world, though obscured, was still there,

part of me trusted the illusion.

 

It reminded me of when we were kids

and at slumber parties we’d play the game

“stiff as a board, light as a feather,” in which

one girl would lie in the center of a circle,

and another would tell the spooky story

 

of how the supine girl had died, and how, on her death,

her body was said to be “stiff as a board, light

as a feather,” and the rest of us would slip two fingers

beneath her and carry her about the room.

I knew, of course, that my 100-pound friends

 

were not truly feather light, but we played the game

over and over and swore it was true. There is some thrill

in sharing a myth that defies common sense.

And so today, when I say to my daughter

that we are entering a hidden realm through a veil

 

and she disagrees, I am shocked how disappointed

I am when she doesn’t share the game. In that instant,

the snow is just snow, the day just a day.

There is a joy here, too, in calling things as they are.

A woman. A girl. A storm. A chairlift traveling through.

 

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One Friendship

 

for Corinne

 

 

skiing into the blizzard

finding laughter in gusts and drifts

skiing out into sunshine

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snow so deep, so soft

even the me who thinks she’s not good enough

laughs, whoops, falls, rises

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for Corinne, skate skier extraordinaire

 

 

The meadow was a violent scourge of white,

and still we chose to leave our cars and ski.

The wind and blowing snow obscured our sight,

 

lashed through our hats and stole our breath, but we

leaned into it and laughed, as if the storm

were nothing more than an excuse to be

 

more brave, more willing to eschew what’s warm

so we might face our fear, find joy in risk—

and sure enough, I felt myself transform

 

from nervousness to animated bliss—

and we for hours skied amidst the gusts

and for that time, knew nothing more than this:

 

to meet the crazy storm. When scared, to thrust

ourselves into the howling world. And trust.

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with a line from “Snow” by Anna Akhmatova

 

 

The spruce boughs are empty

of snow as we ski up the old

railroad grade. And when we arrive

at the top, the sky opens up,

an enchantment of blue.

I want to ask her how it felt

to be caged, to be clipped,

to be silenced. But she looks

at me as if to say the mood

is too tender for talk. And so

we let the words disappear

like the snow that is not falling,

and we move together

as good friends do, letting

one lead, and then the other.

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One Unselving

 

 

 

skiing through the valley

the snow and I

trade places

 

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Today forgiveness is like the tracks
in the snow at the park where the skis
might follow, and the following is easy.
There are many other ways that one
might go, but it seems simple to move
through the trees in these slots that
were made for people like me who
are afraid of getting hurt. I’ve been injured
recently. I imagine painful things. Though the path,
it hosts no mountain lions, no volcanoes,
no dragons, no skunks, no traps.
I have to laugh at how straightforward it is
to forgive. You do nothing and it arrives.
And around the corner, it’s still there.
Of course it happens in its own time.
How pure the impulse to want
to share its grace. So much freedom!
Isn’t it ironic, what now feels safe.
But we cannot lead a horse to water
nor a friend to mercy nor clemency.
God, the sun is incredible here, the way
it sifts through the empty trees, the way
it catches in expanses of snow rife with facets
made by transitioning warm to cold to warm to cold.
It’s warm. We all transition. There was a time when
I was so full of anger I didn’t even know that forgiveness
was part of the landscape. And today,
it is effortless—so effortless I nearly didn’t name it
as I shifted my weight from one ski to the other
in grooves I didn’t need to reinvent, my poles
moving almost of their own accord, a rhythm
not so unlike the beating of your heart, my heart.

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Gravity, I adored you today,
the way you led me from the top of the mountain
to lower down. The clear rush of it all,
the thrill of velocity, the giving in
to forces greater than ourselves
and learning there to play.

What a sweet oxymoron,
the more mass we have, the faster
we go, and with this heart so weighted
I was surely more lickety-split
than ever before, and felt it, too,
the shocking lightness,

the reminder that all of us,
all of us are in it together,
at the mercy of this draw,
this tug, this gravity that brings us
down, down, down, wheeeeeeee down
humbled and even laughing.

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You will remember how two weeks ago
I skied into you, right through the tall center
of your many red stems. How I fell.

I was transfixed by you at the base of the hill.
I forgot everything but willow. But
today I remember to train my eye

to corduroy snow, to follow its parallel
grooves through the gulley.
See how I slide up the other side with no effort.

It is not that I did not notice you,
your whispers, your slight bend
in the almost breeze, your tips waving

like sirens, your long slendernesses,
how easily you rise from snow toward sky.
I noticed and then curled my body into the curve,

looked ahead, became drift, became wind, became
current and passed you, slipping myself into
the next moment which is always, always passing.

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